Lutron Caséta has added two new smart switches to its lineup. The switches are modeled on its existing non-smart “Diva” paddle switch style, giving its distinctive smart switch line a more traditional look. Lutron Caséta is probably one of the most reliable DIY smart lighting systems available today; it uses a proprietary protocol powered by Lutron’s smart hub rather than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The new $69.95 Diva smart dimmer is a wired paddle switch with a toggle slider for dimming, and the $59.95 Claro smart switch is a standard wired on-off switch. Both products look like traditional paddle switches, and other than a small LED light, there’s nothing to single them out as “smart.” As with the existing Caseta smart dimmer, the new Diva smart dimmer won’t need a neutral wire. (Though the Claro switch will.)
The switches are available today, September 12th, at The Home Depot. Lutron is also selling a Diva Smart Starter Kit for $119.95, which includes the dimmer, a Lutron Smart Hub, a wireless Pico remote, and a matching faceplate.
a new old look
The look of the new devices is more in line with what most of Lutron’s competitors are doing in this space; Eve and Leviton recently launched new switches that stick with a more traditional look.
Lutron says the reason for the new design is to fit better into most homes, where paddle switches are common. “Some folks find the existing Caséta aesthetic too contrasting to their existing switches,” Adam Mack, Caséta product manager, told The Verge. “We wanted to give homeowners another option.” Mack says Lutron is not discontinuing its existing Caséta style, however, and will continue to develop it.
The current Caséta design has distinctive icons on the switches and multiple buttons, plus a press and hold function that can confuse people unfamiliar with them. The Diva dimmer uses the more traditional paddle design for on-off, plus you can press and hold the paddle to slowly dim to off or use the slider for precise dimming. An LED light bar shows the dimming level, and there’s a preset function to return the light to where it was previously.
Most noteworthy, however, is that both new switches will work with wired three-way and multi-location switches, something existing Caséta switches don’t do unless you add a wireless Pico remote. This means you can replace one wired switch with a Diva smart dimmer or Claro smart switch, and the existing mechanical switch (or switches) will continue to work as expected. (There is some extra wiring required.)
Lutron is also launching an accessory switch later this year for new installs, which will work like a mechanical switch but come with special wiring. It also won’t count as a device on the Lutron system (which has a maximum of 74 devices). Up to 10 accessory switches can be paired with one Caséta smart switch.
The Diva and Claro work with all existing Caséta products — including the Lutron Pico remote to add a second wireless switch or remote control — and the Claro will also work for on-off control of ceiling fans. The switches come in six colors, including white, ivory, and black.
The new switches require the $80 Lutron Smart Hub to add connected features such as scenes and schedules using the Lutron app as well as connect to other smart home platforms, such as Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home.
Lutron is involved with Matter, the new smart home standard, but has not announced how or when it will support it. “Today, we support all the major systems that Matter is going to integrate with, and we continue to be committed to supporting those platforms,” said Mack. Its proprietary Clear Connect protocol is a low-power, long-range protocol similar to Thread — one of the main protocols of Matter. It seems unlikely Lutron would abandon that in favor of a different technology at this stage, especially as its products already work with most smart home platforms.